Day 9: May 21

Today we woke up early in order to leave for Rorainópolis, about 300km away from Boa Vista. Our driver arrived at 6am, much earlier than expected (6:30), so we hastily got ready, and in a semi-conscious state we waddled to our truck for our 4-hour drive. Along the way we made a pit stop at the town of Iracema to eat the pão de queijo (cheese bread) that Isabella had talked so much about. They had many delicious looking local snacks, from paçoca, tapioca, cassava cake, cassava biscuits, couscous and much more.

We arrived at Rorainópolis at 10am and had a quick tour of the UERR’s Rorainópolis campus before we went to the lodging where we would spend the night to settle and relax for a bit. We then went to the Rorainópolis campus’ director (Cláudio Delicato’s house) for a feijoada. After much eating, we were treated with the presence of an adorable puppy that brightened up our day. Octavia was especially touched to be able to hold such a tiny puppy just larger than her hands.

 

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Lunch at professor’s Claudio house with UERR professors.
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Our team looking as if we’d never seen a puppy before

While we were just recovering from our feijoada-induced food coma we watched Suzi’s class on field methods, on formal semantics, as a guest lecturer on Isabella’s course on the indigenous languages of Roraima. On the second part of the class, Octavia and Greg served as consultants of English and Mandarin for the students to practice the elicitation methods learned in the class. The students were very enthusiastic and engaged, asking a lot of questions trying to figure quantification of mass and count nouns. Greg remarked at how difficult it was to be a consultant, often being induced to second guess his own intuitions, and that helps a bit to put ourselves in the consultants’ shoes.

 

 

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Greg working as a Mandarin consultant and the students of the course “Indigenous Languages of Roraima”
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Suzi and the students from the course “Indigenous Languages of Roraima”
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Octavia working as an English consultant and the students of the course “Indigenous Languages of Roraima”

After the class ended all the students wanted to have their photo taken with us, and before we noticed we found ourselves in a photo session with each of the students waiting for their turn to take photos with us. While feeling a bit bemused that gave us some good laughs and jokes about being local celebrities. We then proceeded to a local cafe for some tapioca and fresh juice which were delicious, as it has always been the case with other foods we tried at Roraima.

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Students from the course “Línguas de Indígenas de Roraima” taught by professor Isabella Coutinho after the invited class taught by professor Suzi Lima on formal and experimental aspects of fieldwork in semantics.
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Greg, Guilherme and Octavia towards the end of their celebrity moment.

We then went back to the university for our workshop event (“Brasil and Canadá: um diálogo sobre diversidade linguística”). Suzi opened the event with her talk on Brazilian indigenous languages, followed by Isabella’s talk on Roraima’s indigenous languages. Lastly, Octavia, Greg and I gave our presentation on Canada’s Indigenous languages. Greg started with the multilingual state of Canada, with indigenous and immigrant languages, and later he also talked about the revitalization of indigenous languages. Octavia talked about the political and social situation surrounding the indigenous peoples and languages in Canada, and I talked about their diversity and typology.

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Greg, Guilherme and Octavia presenting their talk on Canadian Indigenous Languages. Undergraduate students from UERR asked many questions to the UofT group during a Q&A session that lasted almost 40 minutes. A great success! ❤

After the presentations we were still feeling full from the tapioca we had eating before, so we went to a local pub for some “light” food. Some of us tried some fish sausages, which tasted very good, as it is with all other foods that we had tried so far.

 

 

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The UofT group with UERR professors Isabella Coutinho and Cristiani Dalia de Mello (coordinator of the Letras (Languages, Linguistics, Literatures) course at UERR) and UERR drivers Ricardo and Natercio – a shout-out to Natércio who made sure to show that he was drinking water.

After we returned to our lodging we got to see the starry sky that we rarely get to see, having lived our whole lives in big cities. Everything was so peaceful, standing there under the starry sky to the music of frogs and the insects. That was a lovely way to end our great day at Rorainópolis.

 

By Guilherme Teruya

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